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Doctors Say Man Found Alive 1 Week After Crash Is On The Mend

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(credit: CBS/Facebook)

(credit: CBS/Facebook)

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VALENCIA (CBS) — A 67-year-old man who was found alive six days after his car careened off a mountain road is on the mend.

Doctors at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital say David Lavau’s condition has been upgraded from serious to fair.

Lavau has been hospitalized since his family found him at the bottom of a 200-foot ravine last Thursday.

Lavau was traveling on Lake Hughes Road, north of Ridge Route Road, on Sept. 23 when he swerved to avoid bright lights coming in the opposite direction. After slamming on his brakes, his vehicle plummeted down an embankment.

He stayed in his car overnight, but the next morning, he discovered a deceased driver in a car nearby. Partially disabled, Lavau remained at the bottom of the hill, surviving on leaves and water from a nearby creek for six days.

He was rescued a week ago after his family obtained security video from a nearby supermarket that ultimately led them to him.

“We know our dad. My dad would never not call his kids,” daughter Lisa Lavau told CBS2. “There’s four of us, and just by the time that fourth day, the fifth day and then the sixth day, we knew something was wrong. I live in San Francisco, so I drove up with my daughter and I said, ‘If anybody can find our dad, it’s us. We know he’s alive.’ And so, we stopped at every ravine and looked over every hill. And then my brother got out of the car and we kept screaming and the next thing, we heard Dad say, ‘Help, help!’ and there he was.”

Lavau’s son, Shawn, hiked to the bottom of the canyon and located him before Los Angeles County firefighters extricated them from the canyon and transported Lavau to the hospital.

He dislocated his shoulder and suffered several broken bones.

The deceased driver is believed to be 88-year-old Melvin Gelfand.

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